Background: The Exhibition

Background: The Exhibition

Background is an exhibition inspired by the Impact7:2011 International Printmaking Conference’s theme “intersections and counterpoints”, and its focus on “creative collaboration”. It features the work of three regional printmakers exploring the intersecting meanings of ‘background’ through printed images and, more significantly, through the collaborative process of creating those images.bendigo-art-gallery-01

What is it that makes up ‘the background’ to something, or someone? Our intersecting histories; our cultures and families; the landscapes we came from and live in; the stories, facts and experiences that explain, inform, or shape us.

What do we mean when we speak about something as “background”? Something inconspicuous; unobtrusive melodies to harmonise against; the ground on which lines and images form a counterpoint; surfaces on which to build; an accompaniment to something else, another conversation, another activity.

Is the choice about how we view background and foreground arbitrary? How do we visually create pathways into and through an artwork that enable us to make this choice?

The work that makes up this exhibition incorporates multi-plate ‘unique state’ monoprints, assembled as a series of panels. They are large scale and made entirely in collaboration. Our focus is on the aesthetics of surface and background, and the building up of layers and line. The three symbols of arch, boat and wishbone provide starting points to unravel meaning in the work, as well as providing a final layer to the ‘ground’ of the prints. They express the ‘background’ theme as well as representing the process – the path we’ve travelled in making the work.

The boat evokes notions of journeying, leaving, arriving, moving into the unknown. Also the idea of transformation, crossing, transition, a vessel that allows a safe journey to another place, new life, new ways.

The wishbone suggests projection, hope, fate, where we would wish our lives to be and the backgrounds we build our futures on. A wish is made with hope and expectancy, whatever eventuates becomes the way to begin, to explore, to experiment.

The arch represents joy, unity and sense of connection, as well as the idea of passing through.Is the arch the vault of the sky? There is, simultaneously, a sense of the ‘lofty’ and of something grounded, solid and real.